Moments after claiming his first-ever District 6-A/AA championship, Central's John Mitchell was sitting on the bench collecting himself when he felt a big hand on his shoulder. It was that of his father, Central head coach Jack.
Mitchell was the district singles champion Wednesday at Warner Park, defeating Hixson's Alex Condra 6-2, 6-4 after runner-up finishes in the district each of his first three seasons as a Pounder. Other winners included East Hamilton freshman Hannah Dattilo in girls' singles; Bailey Lenoir and Erwin Kupris in boys' doubles and Hixson's Whitney Clack and Michelle Phillips in girls' doubles.
Champions and runners-up qualify for the Region 3-A/AA tournament, which will be held at the Champions Club on Monday.
Mitchell's road has run into former Arts & Sciences standout Jackson Lenoir the past couple of seasons.
"Ever since I was in sixth grade, I've wanted to win district," Mitchell said. "I'm glad all of the work finally paid off, and I'm glad my dad was the first one I saw afterwards.
"He was there from the beginning -- he wanted to win this as much as I did -- and I'm happy I was able to win."
Clack and Phillips defended their title, defeating East Hamilton's Shanna Love and Noa Geyne in straight sets.
"We had high expectations after winning it last year," Clack said. "It's nice to win it two years in a row, but our goal is to win the region and make it to state."
• Junior Blake Savard won his third consecutive 5-A/AA championship, defeating Boyd-Buchanan's Joseph Fairchild in straight sets in the final. Savard didn't drop a game in three matches in the tournament.
He hasn't lost a match since the region final last season, taking the first set off eventual state runner-up Jackson Lenoir before cramping and falling in three sets.
"I think of that loss every time I play tennis," he said. "I learned I need to keep the pressure on."
Savard did just that, not dropping a game in three matches.
Boyd-Buchanan's Katie Delay won the girls' singles, while Collegedale swept the doubles. Austin and Victor Lee won in boys, and Matti Sue Nafie and Emily wilt won the girls.
• There were a pair of repeats in the 7-A/AA championship, both in doubles. Defending Class A/AA state champion Ellie and Hannah Henry won in girls, while Forrest Hooten and Adam Wolfe won the boys.
Notre Dame's Charles Jabaley defeated teammate J.R. Davis to claim the boys' singles, while Signal Mountain's Kylila Tucker beat teammate Natalie Palmer to win the girls' title.
Contact Gene Henley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6311. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/genehenleytfp.